Russian scientists to develop new breeds of salmon, trout and carp

October 5, 2021 16:24

Russian Federal Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography (VNIRO) has won a big grant to breed new genetic samples of salmon, rainbow trout and pond carp, reports

According to VNIRO, this grant of Russia’s Ministry of Education and Science is aimed at developing genomic editing technology to solve problems in the field of animal husbandry and aquaculture under the Federal Scientific and Technical Program for the Development of Genetic Technologies for 2019-2027.

Creation of highly productive domestic breeds and lines of salmon and trout, as well as the qualitative improvement of breeds and lines of carp are the primary and most demanded requests in the development of domestic aquaculture.

The first tranche of the grant in the amount of 318 million rubles will be used to create three competence centers and equip them with modern equipment. The Genetic Editing Center will specialize in the latest genetic engineering technologies in aquaculture, including genome editing using CRISPR/CAS technology. At the beginning of the year, the Institute's molecular genetics laboratory was already additionally equipped with two new DNA sequencers.

During the implementation of this grant, it is also planned to create a Bioinformatics Center and equip it with a modern computing server. A division with an aquarium area for model fish species will be formed in the new building of the Institute.

Other institutes, including several foreign ones, will be involved in this area.

As part of the work, genome–wide sequencing of various modern imported and Russian trout breeds and lines, as well as its wild form, the mikizhi, will be carried out. Genetic samples will be obtained and genome-wide sequencing of both commodity lines and wild classes of anadromous Atlantic salmon from the basins of the Barents, White and Baltic Seas, as well as residential forms (lake salmon) will be carried out. Together with geneticists from Immanuel Kant University (Kaliningrad, co-executor of the Project), VNIRO scientists will develop and test a method of purification of farmed fish breeds from mildly harmful mutations using the method of genetic handicap.

Today, 100% of salmon stocking material is imported from abroad (mainly from Norway). The lion's share of trout stocking material is imported from Poland, Finland, France and a number of other countries. The quality of the rainbow trout breeds produced in Russia is much lower, in the opinion of most trout breeders, as compared to foreign stocking material in terms of growth rate, synchronicity of maturation, disease resistance and a number of other signs.

In terms of carp breeding and genetics, all the main discoveries were made by Soviet scientists back in the 80s of the last century and for more than 40 years the productivity of existing breeds has not changed. Now VNIRO scientists will focus on the comparison of the genetic characteristics of the carp breeds made in Russia, in order to create highly productive lines for the Russian farms.

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